Bitcoin a dud in El Salvador, first country to make it legal tender

Hardly anyone used Bitcoin last year in El Salvador, the first country anywhere to make the cryptocurrency a form of legal tender, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The government of President Nayib Bukele took this pioneering step in 2021, introducing bitcoin in circulation alongside the US dollar, which replaced the Salvadoran colon in 2001.

The goal was to make remittances — they account for a quarter of GDP here — cheaper to send and to get Salvadorans to open bank accounts, which 70 percent of the population lacked.

However a poll by Central American University found that 85 percent of people questioned did not use bitcoin to pay for a good or service last year, and three percent have never ever used the currency.

The poll was carried out from December 9 to 22 among 1,280 people and had a margin of error of 2.7 percent.

A total of 77.8 percent of those questioned said that with bitcoin as legal tender their family financial situation has remained unchanged.

The government has said it has bought 2,381 bitcoin, without specifying what it paid.

Bitcoin hit a 22-month high on Tuesday at $47,914 per unit after a fabricated post on the X platform, formerly Twitter, said the US Securities and Exchange Commission had agreed to let bitcoin exchange-traded funds list on leading stock markets.